Purple Heart Day 2016 honors a longstanding tradition of the United States Armed Forces. It is an annual celebration on August 7 every year in memory of America’s military personnel.

On August 7, 1782, General George Washington established the Badge for Military Merit, the predecessor of the Purple Heart. The award paid tribute to the courageous action displayed by soldiers in the field of battle. Their deeds inscribed in a Book of Merit as well.

However, the practice was lost with the disappearance of the book, according to History. General Douglas MacArthur revived the tradition in 1932 in honor of the 200th birthday of General Washington. Hence, the Order of the Purple Heart known today.

The award remains true to its original purpose in line with the intention of General Washington. Thus, it honors military personnel who died or sustained injuries in the course of their duty to the nation. It is the highest accolade handed by the institution.

Citizens also recognize the significance of Purple Heart Day 2016. According to CBS8, various establishments raise the Purple Heart flag in deference to the day’s significance. It stands as a reminder for the efforts of the military men and women to defend freedoms. Thus, many did not take kindly to the recent joke made by Republican candidate Donald Trump about it.

Ideas to celebrate Purple Heart Day 2016

1. Raise and wave a Purple Heart flag in front of your house.

Purple Heart Day 2016

Purple Heart Flag (US Wings)

2. If possible, take time to visit a Purple Heart medal awardee. As veterans, they appreciate the company of people who would listen to their story.

3. Lay flowers at the grave of a fallen Purple Heart medal recipient in memory of their deeds.

4. Take a cue from the Empire State Building in New York. Put up purple lights on Purple Heart Day 2016.

Purple Heart Day 2016

Empire State Building Tower Lights for National Purple Heart Day

5. Respectfully salute a veteran. It might be a simple gesture but it would likely warm the heart of a true hero.

Purple Heart Day 2016

America’s Navy (Ship’s Navigator Lt. j.g. Shaina Hayden renders honors to the national anthem)